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Discover Why You Need To Focus On Affiliate Marketing Management.

January 22nd, 2013 by Wade Schlosser on Affiliate Programs 0 Comments

Why Affiliate Marketing Management?

It’s simple.

Affiliate marketing is a pay for performance lead generation process. This means that instead of shelling out money on questionable marketing and advertising methods; affiliates drive leads/customers to your business and get paid based on their performance.

Affiliate marketing acts much like a commission based sales position. In order to run a ” sales team” you’ve got to implement affiliate marketing management.

Since affiliate marketing allows you to control the sales process by controlling your sales offers and messages you can acquire your leads with the help of others, rather than paying someone before you acquire leads.

Here’s What Makes Affiliate Marketing A Noteworthy Lead Generation Tool.

Currently affiliate marketing is experiencing a growth rate of around 16% a year.

It’s expected to grow roughly 34% from 2012-2014, which is the third highest profit growth rate behind social media and mobile marketing.

Affiliate marketing is a bonafide solution to give your company substantial reach.

Affiliates are marketing machines that are always testing out new tactics that will bring increased revenue for both them and you. As master marketers, you rely on their expertise with SEO, PPC, SEM Etc.  Because you can piggyback off of your affiliates expertise in marketing and advertising, you can focus more on running your business as they assist  to bring in profits.

Affiliate marketing management depends largely on the relationships between you and your affiliate.  The better you treat your affiliates…the more money you make. When you’re in an affiliate marketing management position, your affiliates depend on you as much you depend on them.

The Big Question… Do You Use An Affiliate Network Or Go InHouse For Affiliate Marketing Management?

One of the biggest decisions to make when considering an affiliate marketing program is whether to use your own resources and use affiliate software or if you should team up with a network.

Affiliate networks are a proven way to find profitability.  Affiliate networks have spent a good amount of time building their brand, attracting affiliates who are able to produce, and offer interfaces that can work well with your company.

When contemplating using an affiliate network you need to assess how rewarding it will be to outsource your program to a network. The investment that you make with a network will return, but at what rate?

Consider the following if you plan on selecting a network.

  • Will they promote you privately in their network? - What does “private” mean you ask. It simply means they they will work with you on a one to one basis with each affiliate. They won’t announce it to their thousands of affiliates for just any affiliate to begin promoting and send you leads. This is a proven way to have a network show you what they are capable of and if they meet your needs (Quality leads, Customer Service).
  • Only choose 2 affiliate networks at the MOST –  Affiliate networks or CPA networks are notorious for over promising and under delivering. They will promote your offers to other networks, which will in turn promote it to other networks. This helps them get more traffic/leads. But, it leaves the door wide open for you to lose control over your marketing message and more fraud. This is okay, if you know how to manage it. Begin with just two until you understand how to manage many dozens of affiliates promoting your campaign and you are able to track the quality down to each sub-id.
  • Make certain they are strong in your vertical - Do a thourough interview with management. Have them prove to you that they are running similar campaigns, ask how long they have been clients, how many leads are they generating for them, what are their conversion rates, etc. Try to find out as much information from them. This will help determine if you are even ready to go with a network yet and if they are focused on your niche. Therefore, the likelyhood of your successs is far greater.
  • Do they have the fraud monitoring tools? – Make certain that they are using the best in class fraud managment tools. Most reputable networks are able to monitor if an affiliate changes your advertisement without your permission or driving fraudulant traffic from unscrupulous sources. Have them prove to you that they are actually subscribed to these services. This will prevent you from a lot of headache down the line.

 On to in-house affiliate marketing…

In-house affiliate marketing management is a  tough-sell for affiliates. The reason is that many prefer to run through affiliate networks where one central log in allows them to work with multiple merchants and receive payments from just one source.

However, if you offer attractive products and commissions then you can build an affiliate base that constantly is working to help you profit.

If you’re going to attempt to run an in-house program…here are some items of consideration when you develop relationships with affiliates:

  • Have a website that converts well – Affiliates spend a lot of time inventing new ways of advertising for you. Don’t waste their time or yours. Test your website’s performance by performing A/B split tests on the landing pages your affiliates are driving traffic too.  If you’re not optimizing these landing pages and making sure they’re squeezing every bit of lead juice out this traffic then affiliates might split and team up with someone who is able to compensate them better for their skills.
  • Offer great commissions and track commissions perfectly -  You should offer competitive payouts and commissions as an affiliate manager. Again, affiliates depend on you to generate income, if you can’t give them what they’re looking for…they’ll leave,  simple as that  .Not only that, but to introduce extra hassle by having your own proprietary affiliate program you need to make it worth their while and good commission structures are the best way to do that.  According to Feed Front magazine, the biggest consideration for affiliates when finding a network ( or brand) to work with is how commission.  19%, or almost 1 out of 5 indicate that it is the biggest factor when choosing to work with a merchant or network. Affiliates hate not getting paid for their hard work. Your software should support CPM, CPC tiered CPA and hybrid commission tracking so you’re able to attract different segments of affiliates who use different methodologies to drive you traffic.
  • Use trusted affiliate software - If you plan on running and affiliate program in-house I advise that you really take a look at the software that you will be the backbone of your program. You’ll need to make sure that it has Commission Management Tools - as I mentioned above and also has a inline CRM tool to manage your affiliates. Other additional things to look for with an affiliate software are Geo-targeting tools, earning reports, traffic reports, affiliate tracking reports, banner rotators, banner groups, banner uploaders, A/B testing, sub-id tracking and more. Two brands I really like are Cake Marketing and Direct Track. When you’re conducting research, find out what brand affiliate software that super affiliates have had beneficial experiences with. This will clue you in what affiliates in your niche like to see and enjoy working with
  • Weed out bad affiliates with sub-id tracking – Unfortunately fraud exists in every market around. Sub-id tracking will help you get rid of the poor performing affiliates much quicker withou elminating the good ones. Also,  When running an in-house program you want to make sure to protect your affiliates from those trying to game the system.  Use software that looks out  out for cookie stuffing,  and be sure to have your affiliates prove where there traffic is coming from. Ban those who implement typo-squatting, spyware and auto form fills so you can run a clean, high functioning program. This will not only help you get more quality leads, but will result in higher commissions for your legitimate affiliates. You’ll also benefit with increased trust with your company…and generate the highest quality leads.

Take These Things Into Consideration When Running An In-house Program.

When you provide affiliates with attractive offers and exclusive deals to promote they’ll be excited to help promote your products or services.

Don’t slack on the recruiting process either.

Find out why affiliates want to work with you. Research their traffic sources, who else do they promote? Ask how did they find out about you?

Request their stats, and monitor their traffic to make sure they’ll be a quality affiliate.

Find out what they’re attempting to earn, what  they’re expecting to earn and what their current conversions are.

Lastly, test the affiliate out to see if they’re a good fit.

What You Can Expect from Affiliate Marketing Management.

First, don’t expect generous revenue right away.

To avoid being disappointed, anticipate that it might 6-12 months before generous revenue gains will be seen. I worked with a company that in 12 months time was able to achieve income supplementation of around 40%.  However, affiliate marketing isn’t a “strong out of the gates” workhorse, and takes time to be nurtured and developed.

On that note, also remember that affiliate marketing management is a tool to help grow your brand.  Once your affiliates trust you, and know that you’re a good merchant to represent they’ll begin to extend more effort to promoting your brand.

The more that you do to help you affiliates succeed, the more successful you’ll be as well.

Lastly, if you choose an affiliate network when you get started, launch your campaign privately with your network. Here you can gauge the network and their affiliate’s performance.

Likewise, test your in-house program with small tests before launching full scale campaigns so you’re able to estimate how efficient your affiliates are.

Affiliate marketing is the future of business, it’s that simple.

Tell us how you plan on using affiliate marketing in 2013.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

 

I'm the CEO of Forward Leap Marketing. I love creating and contributing to companies' strategies to invoke raving fan customers that ultimately drive significant bottom line results through targeted web traffic, value-added partnerships, and must have products. Please connect with me on Twitter, Google +, and Linkedin.

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